(Bloomberg) -- The European Commission is still in talks with countries on a deal to scale up renewable energy by 2030, which has been put on ice amid last-minute objections by France over the role of nuclear power.
“We are still negotiating with member states,” European Union Energy Commissioner Kadri Simson said in a Bloomberg Television interview. She sought to ease concerns over the potential impact on industries of strict decarbonization targets, saying the bloc would ensure all are supported.
France has pressed the EU’s executive arm to ensure a greater role for nuclear power — which dominates its energy mix — in meeting climate targets. Its push to reopen the draft legislation has drawn the ire of other countries including Spain, which said such a move would be a “very dangerous exercise.”
Simson declined to say whether the commission would oppose a reopening of the deal reached with the European Parliament in March.
“There has been some concern if the timeline for industry is too ambitious — will it hurt our competitiveness?” she said Wednesday. “I can assure you the commission doesn’t want to achieve anything like that.”
The pressure from France is the latest sign of pushback against the bloc’s ambitious plans to transition toward climate neutrality by midcentury. Earlier this year, Germany made a similar last-minute bid to ensure assurances for its auto industry in legislation to phase out new combustion-engine cars by 2035.
French President Emmanuel Macron last month called for a pause in EU climate regulation, saying that changing rules again would discourage investors. Ten nations have called upon Sweden, which holds the rotating presidency of the bloc, to find a solution as soon as possible.
Energy ministers are due to meet in Luxembourg on June 19, where the matter will be discussed, if not solved beforehand.
--With assistance from Mark Cudmore.
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